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SK officials looking back, looking forward

Growth is on the minds of at least three local officials as they prepare for 2006 and say goodbye to 2005.

“I see South Kitsap mushrooming with growth as others find the pot of gold we’ve kept hidden for so many years,” said Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington. “Whether we like it or not, the people are coming. We just need to be ready for them.”

However, Huntington was also optimistic about the community’s response to the influx of residents.

“Hopefully, while watching other communities grow, we have learned from their mistakes,” she said. “I see turf wars ending and team work beginning.”

Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel also had faith in her community’s ability to cooperatively expand.

“I am very proud of the work that the South Kitsap Urban Growth Area Advisory Group did in providing the ground knowledge to move the process to review and expand the Urban Growth Boundaries in South Kitsap,” Abel said. “The draft Environmental Impact Statement is the result of the community and government working hand-in-hand, and that work will lead to development and annexation possibilities so that growth can be planned for and accomodated.”

However, South Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel said that everything might not be as rosy with a recently-approved county ordinance.

Next year, she predicted, will bring “unintended consequences of the recently passed Kitsap County Critical Areas Ordinance (to the) surface — it is already beginning.”

Asked to look back over 2005, Angel and Abel applauded both the military’s efforts abroad, and their community’s efforts to support them.

“I am very proud of the Port Orchard Chamber’s ongoing efforts to support our local National Guard and Navy units,” Abel said. “The fund that was developed through Kitsap Community Resources to support National Guard families is one of a kind and shows this community’s commitment to supporting folks when they need it most.”

Angel said the efforts of both groups made her proud, as well.

“(I commend) the caring and patriotism of our troops away and coming home, (and) our community has really come together to help in every way possible,” she said.

But when asked what she will remember the most about 2005, Angel said simply, “ISC/NASCAR wanting to come to SK.”

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